Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Najaf: What happened to the children?

What happened to the ‘terrorist children’ captured in the Glorious Battle of Najaf? I suggest you contact your elected representatives and the responsible agencies and ask as I am. I am looking forward to a call-back from Senator Levin’s office next week.

Apparently a substantial number of those ‘hundreds’ injured, captured or killed in the day-long slaughter by US and Iraqi forces may have been non-combatants, women and children.

Stratfor provides some interesting additional information regarding the Najaf Incident and raises some pertinent questions:

Geopolitical Diary: Deciphering the An Najaf Battle
January 31, 2007 03 00 GMT

…Not only is this perhaps the most bizarre incident in almost four years of incessant violence that has ravaged the country, the government’s version of what allegedly transpired raises more questions than provides answers.

  • How could a cult evolve into such a major threat without getting noticed?
  • If this was an obscure cult, why were government forces unable to deal with it on their own?
  • From where did the group acquire such a large cache of weaponry?
  • Given the deep sectarian differences, how can extremist Shia and jihadists both be part of the group?
  • Why would a Shiite religious group risk alienation by engaging in the murder of the clerical hierarchy, especially during the holy month of Muharram?

These and other such questions indicate the government is withholding a lot of information. However, Stratfor has received some information that provides insight into the circumstances leading up to the battle.

We are told the al-Hawatim tribe wanted to organize its own Karbala procession during Ashurah but that a rival group with considerable influence prevented it from doing so. A number of tribesmen were killed at a checkpoint operated by this influential group, including a senior tribal sheikh. The tribe then launched a retaliatory attack that led to the battle. The fact that a large number of those arrested are women and children [emphasis mine–HH] lends some credence to the report that the fighting was related to Ashurah ceremonies.

Stratfor apparently only provides this article to subscribers or google searchers, so google on: “Geopolitical Diary: Deciphering the An Najaf Battle”.

Mike Whitney raises some more good points in Palestine Chronicle:

Mike Whitney: Whitewashing the Massacre in Najaf

The US military is now being used as an “enforcer” in tribal and clan-based disputes. This will make it even more difficult for Washington to prove that its honest broker who can reconcile the differences between the between the warring factions.

By Mike Whitney
PalestineChronicle.com

So far, there are 2 things that we can say with certainty about the massacre of 250 Iraqis outside Najaf on Monday. First, we know that there is no solid evidence to support the official version of events. And, second, we know that every media outlet in the United States slavishly provided the government’s version to their readers without fact-checking or providing eyewitness testimony.

This proves that those who argue that mainstream news is “filtered” are sadly mistaken. There is no filter between the military and media; it’s a direct channel. In fact, all of the traditional obstacles have been swept away so the fairy tales which originate at the Pentagon end up on America’s front pages with as little interference as possible.

In the present case, we were told that “hundreds of gunmen from a ‘messianic cult’ (Soldiers of Heaven) planned to disguise themselves as pilgrims and kill clerics on the holiest day of the Shiite calendar”. We are expected to believe that they put their wives and children in the line of fire so they could conceal their real intention to lay siege to the city. (AP)

This is absurd. How many men would willingly drag their families into battle? In truth, these same tribes make the pilgrimage to Najaf every year to express their devotion to Imam Hussein and to celebrate the Shiite holiday of Ashura. There was nothing out of the ordinary in their behavior.

Gulf Times says:

US military still probing cult battle

Published: Saturday, 3 February, 2007, 10:33 AM Doha Time

BAGHDAD: The US military said yesterday it was still investigating who its troops and Iraq’s security forces fought last week in clashes in which hundreds of people were killed.

The Iraqi government’s account of the battle near the holy city of Najaf has generated conspiracy theories among bloggers sceptical of its suggestion that those killed were members of a messianic Muslim cult plotting to kill top Shia clerics.

“We are investigating who we engaged there. We are not going to say anything as there is still an ongoing investigation,” US military spokesman Major Steven Lamb said, adding that this was standard practice after any major engagement.

But a week after the battle amid orchards and houses north of Najaf, mystery shrouds exactly who the fighters were and what triggered the day-long battle in which a US attack helicopter was shot down, killing its two crew.

Hundreds of people arrested in the aftermath, including women and children, are under guard. [emphasis mine–HH] Journalists were not allowed to visit the scene of the fighting until Thursday, four days after the battle, and only then accompanied by soldiers.

According to Middle East Online, almost 300 persons were taken into custody after the Najaf Incident:

Iraq lifts curfew in Najaf

Iraqi officials say nearly 2,000 civilians killed in raging sectarian conflict across Iraq in January.

By Hasan Abdul Zahra – NAJAF, Iraq

Iraqi authorities on Friday lifted a curfew imposed on Shiite Islam’s holiest city of Najaf in a bid to thwart attacks a day after 73 people died in twin suicide bombings in nearby Hilla…

On Sunday, Iraqi and US forces fought members of a Shiite sect north of Najaf, killing more than 250 “Soldiers of Heaven,” wounding more than 200 and arresting almost 300 [emphasis mine–HH].

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

3 February, 2007 - Posted by | 1st Cavalry, Army, Bush, children, covert operations, intelligence, international law, Iraq, law of nations, Levin, massacre, media, memory hole, murder, Najaf, national security, peace, prisoners, repression, scanlyze, SCIRI, war, war crimes, weird

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